The 1999 Tour de France was a multiple stage bicycle race held from 3 to 25 July, and the 86th edition of the Tour de France. It has no overall winner—although American cyclist Lance Armstrong originally won the event, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced in August 2012 that they had disqualified Armstrong from all his results since 1998, including his seven consecutive Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005 (which were, originally, the most wins in the event's history); the Union Cycliste Internationale confirmed the result. There were no French stage winners for the first time since the 1926 Tour de France. Additionally, Mario Cipollini won 4 stages in a row, setting the post-World War II record for consecutive stage wins (breaking the record of three, set by Gino Bartali in 1948.)
After the doping controversies in the 1998 Tour de France, the Tour organisation banned some riders from the race, including Richard Virenque, Laurent Roux and Philippe Gaumont, manager Manolo Saiz and the entire TVM–Farm Frites team. Virenque's team Polti then appealed at the UCI against this decision, and the UCI then forced the organisers of the Tour, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), to allow Virenque and Saiz entry in the Tour. Initially, the Vini Caldirola team had been selected, but after their team leader Serhiy Honchar failed a blood test in the 1999 Tour de Suisse, the ASO removed Vini Caldirola from the starting list, and replaced them by Cantina Tollo–Alexia Alluminio, the first reserve team. Each team was allowed to field nine cyclists.
The teams entering the race were:
This tour also saw the mistreatment of Christophe Bassons by his fellow riders of the peloton (notably Armstrong) for speaking out against doping. The 1998 tour had been marred by the Festina doping scandal. Bassons later told Bicycling, "The 1999 Tour was supposed to be the "Tour of Renewal," but I was certain that doping had not disappeared." He quit the tour without finishing after "cracking" mentally due to his treatment by the peloton, especially in stage 10.
Subsequent to Armstrong's statement to withdraw his fight against United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) charges, on 24 August 2012, the USADA said it would ban Armstrong for life and stripped him of his record seven Tour de France titles. Later that day it was confirmed in a USADA statement that Armstrong was banned for life and would be disqualified from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to 1 August 1998, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points and prizes. On 22 October 2012, the Union Cycliste Internationale endorsed the USADA sanctions, and decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events.
The 1999 edition of Tour de France had two bizarre moments. The first was on stage 2 when a 25 rider pile-up occurred at Passage du Gois. Passage du Gois is a two-mile causeway which depending on the tide can be under water. The second bizarre incident was on stage 10, one kilometre from the summit of Alpe d'Huez. Leading Italian rider Giuseppe Guerini was confronted by a spectator holding a camera in the middle of the road. Guerini hit the spectator but recovered and went on to win the stage.
There were several classifications in the 1999 Tour de France. The most important was the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification is considered the winner of the Tour.
Additionally, there was a points classification, which awarded a green jersey. In the points classification, cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points led the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.
There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorized some climbs as either hors catégorie, first, second, third, or fourth-category; points for this classification were won by the first cyclists that reached the top of these climbs first, with more points available for the higher-categorized climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a polkadot jersey.
The fourth individual classification was the young rider classification, which was not marked by a jersey. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only riders under 26 years were eligible.
For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time. The riders in the team that led this classification wore yellow caps.
For the combativity award classification, a jury gave points after each stage to the cyclists they considered most combative. The cyclist with the most votes in all stages lead the classification.